By the time Chuck and Betty Ostlie began their missionary work in the South American nation of Chile, efforts had been going on for some time.
In fact, missionaries have been serving in Chile since 1897, which means when the Ostlies arrived in 1980, the gospel message had been shared there for more than 80 years.
Nonetheless, there was still work to be done, which is why the family was called to the mission field.
The Ostlies were in the area recently to talk about their work as missionaries as part of the Redwood and Echo Alliance churches missions conference.
According to Chuck Ostlie, God called the couple out of their lives in southwest Minnesota to the mission field.
Chuck is an NDSU graduate with a degree in agronomy, and prior to 1980 he was working as a county agent for the U of M Extension program in an office in Clarkfield.
Having come to faith through the Navigators, Ostlie got involved with his church and through the Christian and Missionary Alliance began to feel God was calling him to ministry.
Ostlie, who was now married, went back to college where he was schooled in the finer points of missionary work, but until that time had no idea where they would serve.
“We were totally open to where God would send us,” Ostlie said, adding at first he thought they might go to Africa.
What they determined was the climate of Chile better suited their health, and so they went off to language school in Costa Rica and ultimately arrived in Chile.
For the next three decades, the Ostlies took on various roles working in bigger cities as well as rural areas to share the gospel.
They did it through tent meetings, church planting and most recently through a program known as Marriage Encounter. The Marriage Encounter program all-owed for a chance to work with couples outside of the church setting, and through that program they were able to reach many couples, especially of the professional class.
Much of the work in a country like Chile is focused on the poorer people, said Ostlie, but, he added, the more affluent need to hear the message as well and through a program to help enhance and restore marriages they were able to do that.
The Ostlies helped to establish three separate congregations in Chile, and they were in the country when the Alliance Church celebrated its 100th year of missionary work in the South American country. The nation even commemorated the centennial with a stamp.
The Ostlies are officially retired form mission work as of the end of 2012, and according to Chuck, the work in Chile is also coming to an end. The national church in Chile has been deemed self-sufficient, as it not only can sustain itself through training up new leaders but it is now officially sending out its own missionaries to other parts of the world.
Page 2 of 2 - Chuck said he is not sure what God has in mind for him moving forward, but added he is open to serve wherever God would best use him.
The Ostlies are currently residing in Fargo, N.D. and are out on the circuit sharing their stories with people including those at the local Alliance churches.
Ostlie said he was privileged to have serve with such a wonderful group of people, and even though their work in Chile is done he has no intention sitting in a rocking chair for the rest of his life. After all, there is still lots of work to do.